1948, 1952, 1956, 1960
Bukantz, one of America's top fencers in the 1940s and 1950s, competed in four Olympiads for the U.S. foil team. His first Olympic appearance was at the 1948 London Games. The U.S. defeated Great Britain and Egypt in the semfinals, but then finished fourth in the finals of the team foil competition, still one of the best American results in the event in Olympic history.
At the 1952 Helsinki Olympics, he was again a member of the U.S. foil team, which was eliminated in the quarterfinals, and also competed in the individual foil event. After finishing third in his first round pool, Bukantz was eliminated in the second round when he finished in fourth place in his pool (the top three fencers in each pool advanced to the semifinals).
Bukantz returned to the Olympic Games in 1956 in Melbourne and competed solely in the team foil event. At those Games, the U.S. foil team was entirely Jewish, and included Bukantz, Albert Axelrod, Harold Goldsmith, Nathaniel Lubell, and Byron Krieger. In the competition, they defeated Australia in the first round and Great Britain in the second round to advance to the finals. In the final pool, the U.S. lost to France (10-6), Italy (9-7), and Hungary (9-5) to finish in fourth place, just missing a medal.
Bukantz competed in one more Olympiad, the 1960 Rome Games as the U.S foil team reached the final round before losing to Italy, 9-0; they officially finished in fifth place. An international official as well as being a top competitor, Bukantz was an Olympic judge in eight Olympiads, from 1952-1984 (the U.S. boycotted the 1980 Moscow Games), and almost every event he officiated was a final or semifinal. At the 1952, 1956, and 1960 Olympiads, Bukantz was both a competitor and judge.
Bukantz, a member of the Fencing Hall of Fame, won the U.S. foil championship in 1948, 1949, 1952, 1953, and 1957. He graduated from City College of New York in 1938, and is a member of the CCNY Athletic Hall of Fame. Bukantz is a member of the Rules Committee of the FIE (fencing's international governing body). On October 1, 2000, he was elected to the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame.
Birth and Death Dates:
b. Dec. 4, 1917
New York City
Use links below to navigate through the olympics section of Jews In Sports.
Jewish Sports Legends: The International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame, by Joseph Siegman (Washington, D.C.: Brassey's, 2000)
encyclopedia of JEWS in sports, by Bernard Postal, Jesse Silver, and Roy Silver (New York: Bloch Publishing Co., 1965)
Washington Post, August 1-10, 1948
New York Times, July 21-August 2, 1952
New York Times, November 23-December 8, 1956